Severe Tropical Storm Pabuk

Severe Tropical Storm Pabuk looked set to have passed Hong Kong, barely causing an impact other than a pulse of thunderstorms, some rain. Headed towards Hainan, and forecast to dwindle to nothingness. But, it stopped, strengthened again, and turned around – and headed straight for Hong Kong as a tropical storm, hitting on 10 August 2007; seems the rather hazy centre hit Lantau, before it moved off towards west, and weakened..
Led to hoisting of Number 1 and then, a couple of hours or so later, the Number 8: latter causing massive confusion, as people scurried home from work.

Here are views from Cheung Chau, as Pabuk approached (again!), and as it came close, with intense rainband.

This windspeed chart from Cheung Chau weather station shows the wind peaked roughly as I took the above photo, at around 100km/hr (10-minute average): storm force, tho soon down to gale force.

I had to take a ferry. As I neared the pier, passed bicycles blown over by powerful wind, and this broken tree branch.

The ferry took 15-20 minutes just to leave the pier! – blown against it by the wind!
Even in the typhoon shelter, the gale to storm force wind was blasting small waves w white water. Here, took shot in pelting rain.
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There were big waves – some 3-4 metres? – soon after the ferry left the typhoon shelter. The ferry took an unusual course, to avoid as much as possible the roughest seas towards Hong Kong – north past Hei Ling Chau, to pass near Peng Chau. Even so, once we were beyond the lee of Hei Ling Chau, the ferry rolled in big seas; a few times, rolled pretty far then hit by waves that sent spray to windows of middle deck (where I was).
I shot these clips, inc as arrived in Victoria Harbour.

Calmer in the harbour, tho some dark clouds moved over.

I arrived in Central to find large crowd of people, waiting to catch ferry to Cheung Chau. (and go home – not for holiday!) The Number 8 was imminent, or up already.
{mov}pabuk-ferryrush{/mov}
Took quite some time for ferries to arrive. When a small – two deck – ferry berthed, there was degree of chaos as people rushed along exit way, dashed onto ferry without paying, w much shouting. But then, gate closed behind them, and things quiet again: the ferry left, and I figured I was glad not to be on it, as surely would bounce even more than three-deckers (as I’d come in on).

There were tv news crews around, reporting on people waiting for ferries. (Maybe, too, on the storm – but in Central it was pretty quiet; hard to guess how rough the seas were towards Cheung Chau, and how strong the wind had been there.)

Later, I came back to the ferry pier – sure the Number 8 must go down soon, and wanting to take ferry home (as little to do in town after collecting my family; we’d had coffee, eaten, been to supermarket, waleked by closed shops, checked HMV, and now just waiting, waiting and waiting at the pier). Boring, tho the harbour looked attractive w reflections on water free of boats: rather frustrating to be waiting like this when the harbour was calm as a mill pond!

THe piers were near deserted; a few others waiting for ferries and – as here – still a few news crews hanging on.

At last came annuncement that Number 8 replaced by Number 3; ferries didn’t start at once; Lamma ferry off before Cheung Chau one even appeared), but we could eventually head home – phew!

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